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Vampire Slayer's A No-Show As TV Critics Take Over UPN's 'Buffy' Set
From Tampa Bay Online
by: Walt Belcher

PASADENA, Calif. - If you're not a "Buffy" fan, you won't be impressed that I strolled down the streets of Sunnydale, leaned on the coffin in Spike's lair, sat on the couch in Buffy's living room and hung out in Xander's funky apartment. The UPN visit to the set of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Sunday night was cool.

We TV critics trekked to a warehouse soundstage near Santa Monica, where Buffy fights vampires on the fake streets of the mythical Sunnydale.

On this night, carts of catered food and beverages were set up in front of the mock storefronts.

The tour included the interior of Buffy's house, Spike's crib and Xander's pad.

"Look, but don't touch!" warned a tour guide as we studied the items in Buffy's bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

A handful of actors from other UPN series such as "The Parkers," "Girlfriends" and "One on One" also attended the low-key event. Only one wrestler from "WWE Smackdown" was there, and few people knew who he was.

Ever since CBS took control of UPN in a merger of parent companies, UPN has started to look like a bargain-basement outlet shop. Even the new logo looks cheap.

UPN has only three new series: "Haunted," about a detective who sees dead people after a near- death experience; "Half and Half," an all-black comedy about two sisters with different personalities; and a remake of "The Twilight Zone."

Major stars from UPN's most prominent series, "Enterprise" and "Buffy," were missing in action. Buffster Sarah Michelle Gellar was a no-show.

Some second-string players came: Emma Caulfield, who portrays Anya, the droll, 1,120-year-old demon, and Clare Kramer, who is returning as the wicked demon Glory.

Glory battled Buffy most of the 2000-01 season until she went out in a blaze of glory. She's coming back from the dead, which isn't unusual on this show. Buffy also died that season and came back.

So how and why does she return?

"I'm not allowed to say anything," Kramer says. "But Glory will be Glory, causing trouble. She was suffocated, but it was ambiguous where she went. Weird things happen."

The 26-year-old from Atlanta, who got her break on "Buffy," spent this past season on a short-lived romantic drama, "Random Years."

The buzz is that this season, the seventh, will be the last for "Buffy." Gellar has said this would be the last hurrah.

Series creator Joss Whedon, who attended the party, wasn't revealing any plot developments. He hinted he might be willing to do an eighth season - even if Gellar splits.

Money could be a problem for an eighth season; UPN doesn't look as if it's in fat city.

HEAD WORKS: Another "Buffy" alumni, Anthony Stewart Head, says he is coming back this season in the recurring role of Rupert Giles, the vampire "watcher."

Head, the former heartthrob from the Taster's Choice coffee commercials, is still waiting for Whedon to develop a "Buffy" spinoff for the BBC.

When Head left "Buffy" to return to his native England, Whedon agreed to create "The Watcher," in which Giles would tackle deeper material.

"It would be darker in tone and more about psychological fears without the glib pop culture references and kick-butt action," Head said during an interview last week.

He was at the TV critics' fall preview tour for an upcoming BBC America miniseries, "Manchild," about guys going through a male midlife crisis.

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

So where were you? Did you go to Belgium?
Why would I go to Belgium?
I think the relevant question is why wouldn't you? Bel-gium!
-Xander and Buffy (Dead Man's Party)

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